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Article ThumbConeflower Conundrum

Purple coneflowers (Echinacea) have been a staple in my garden for 25 years. I’ve grown them from seed, purchased them in pots and have received free cultivars from friends and growers. The flowers provide nectar for butterflies from June through October and the seed heads provide food for goldfinches in winter.


Article ThumbGood Winter Reads

In our neck of the woods, there’s been little snow to speak of, but the temperatures finally dropped into the teens. And while I was tempted to perhaps get a jump on spring (which is 10 weeks away) and cut down the grasses and clean up the perennial beds (which I neglected to do during that fabulously long autumn), I’ve opted recently to stay indoors and stick my nose in a few new garden books.


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From the Editor - JanFeb 2016

This is the time when the world waxes eloquent (or some semblance thereof) about “new beginnings.” Really? Is there such a thing


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Columns
A Letter From the Garden Abyss

I am writing to reach out to humanity, if there is anyone left as of May 1. If you find this note, please take it to the ...


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Diary of a Bad Gardener

Dear Diary, I’m soooo excited that I can hardly breathe!! Spring is almost here!! I can feel it in my very, very cold toes ...


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Spotlights
Sunny Disposition, Shady Needs

It is always a topic of conversation: What plants work well in sun or in shade? Or both?


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Critter Control

I had just finished an environmental talk to a local gardening group. It was the usual advice. Don’t do an oil change on ...


questions

What ratio and amounts of fertilizer would you use for a perennial bed and a vegetable garden? For growing annuals in a greenhouse, should the fertilizer be fast or slow-release, organic or inorganic?

What causes black spots on my orchid leaves?

What does it take to make a climbing hydrangea flower? Ours was planted 3 years ago and is growing energetically. It’s in a protected nook near the patio and gets very little direct sunlight, but doesn’t act sun starved. We gave it a shot of slow release fertilizer on planting, and once since. Somewhat inadvertently it gets plenty of water, since the hose spigot is nearby and leaks, but drainage does not seem to be the problem. It now fully occupies an 8-foot trellis but shows no interest in flowering. Is it youth, lack of sun, too much or too little fertilizer, bugs, lack of pruning or what? When do these plants bloom and what conditions do they like?

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